Skip main navigation

Impact of climate change

The video explains nature and causes of climate change and highlights an urgent need to respond to the effects of climate change.
1.6
HELLEN DAWO: The fact is that from its inception, the Earth’s climate has been constantly changing. The climatic changes varied from slow to rapid. There have been periods of hot, warm, and cold temperatures. Some of these periods have been extreme. Think back to the hot and wet periods of the dinosaurs, to the long and cold periods of the Ice Age, then back to the now relatively warmer climate. The Earth has been on a constant and complex journey of self-regulation. This highlights the back and forth discussion of whether climate change is a real problem and how does it affect life as we know it now and in the future. To make climate science clearer, we will address the following questions.
55.4
What is climate change? What are the causes of climate change? What are the consequences of climate change on the environment? The answers to these questions will give us the reason why climate adaptation governance is both relevant and necessary to address societal changes across the globe. In order to define climate change, we begin with an explanation of climate. Climate is the average weather over space and time. Let’s break this definition down. One, the weather consists of components in the atmosphere, such as precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, and frost. Two, weather experts measure these components at short intervals, for example, hourly or daily. They use these measurements to predict the weather. Three, an average of these predictions is then extrapolated to give climate.
121.2
And lastly, climate is how the atmosphere behaves over long periods of time, typically 30 years. Climate change means that the way the atmosphere behaves is different from the predictions. This change needs to persist for an extended period of time. Climate change is identified using statistical tests that show differences in the average from the results of other calculations. Now that we understand what climate change is, let us examine how the climate is changing. The climate is getting warmer. This is what we call global warming. This is what happens. First, radiation from the sun travels through the atmosphere and warms the Earth’s surface. Then, part of this incoming energy leaves our planet in the form of heat.
185.5
On its way out through the atmosphere, this heat is absorbed by greenhouse gases. Finally, these greenhouse gases act as a blanket over the Earth, keeping it warmer. So the greenhouse effect is a natural occurrence. It makes life on Earth possible. However, the presence of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases the temperature of the Earth’s surface, resulting in global warming. And this leads to climate change. Interesting, right? Let’s take this explanation a step further. What are these greenhouse gases? The two common greenhouse gases are methane and carbon dioxide. And where do these greenhouse gases come from? They come from two major sources. The first ones are natural sources. This could be internal or external, for example, volcanic eruptions.
257.3
Then you have the anthropogenic sources. These refer to human activities. Think of human activities such as agriculture, industry, transport, and energy production. These have rapidly increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. So the Earth is getting warmer. But this is a natural occurrence. Why is it harmful to the environment? Unfortunately, the unprecedented increase in temperature has consequences for the environment. The key environmental consequences are rising temperature and heatwaves, sea level rise, melting ice sheets, glacial retreat, ocean acidification, changing rainfall patterns, extreme weather events. Climate change effects can be directly linked to environmental disasters, such as floods and drought. The environmental disasters affect human populations in the areas near where they occur.
331.4
The effects on the human populations are called societal challenges. In the next step, we will delve into these societal challenges as a result of climate change. So going back to the age of the dinosaurs and the last Ice Age, we had impressive animals, such as raptors and mammoths. The connecting end seems to be extinction. The effects of climate change are actual and need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Here Hellen Dawo explains nature and causes of climate change and highlights an urgent need to respond to the effects of climate change.

Climate is defined as the average weather over space and time. Climate change means that the way the atmosphere behaves is different from the predictions. This change needs to persist for an extended period of time. Climate change is identified using statistical tests that show differences in the average from the results of other calculations.

This article is from the free online

Making Climate Adaptation Happen: Governing Transformation Strategies for Climate Change

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education